Oh Venice. The city of love, romance and 118 islands. And one of Will’s favorite places.
Now Venice was supposed to be (according to the travel guides) very expensive. With that in mind we decided to stay not on one if the 118 islands but on the mainland near the town of Mestre. We arrived by train and then had to get a bus to our camping ground. Yes, I said camping ground. We had decided to stay in a cabin in a camping ground. After much fuss and a lot of waiting we reached our accommodation.
As we arrived we were pleasantly surprised by the friendly reception and facilities. Plus there was a pizza restaurant which doubled as a cafe! Our cabin was basic but nice and clean with two single beds.
Our first full day in Venice we spent exploring. We got the bus to Venice and walked and walked. We followed the signs to St Marco square admiring the narrow alleys filled with people bustling about, touters selling their wears and many small shops and cafes. The maze of alleyways lead to bridges both large and small and as we weaved our way through we got glimpses of stunning architecture and beautiful buildings. Buildings rose up from the sides of the canals and cobbled alleyways so you feel like a fish swimming through the canal as you walk.
As we are used to walking a lot we enjoyed leaving the throngs of tourists and headed into the real Venice. After a few extra kilometers we arrived at St. Marcos plaza and church. The huge square was surrounded by amazing buildings and we found ourselves making ooh and ahh sounds yet again. As we got closer to the detailed entrance of St Marcos church we noticed the queue to enter it. The church itself is free to enter but everyone had received that memo and the queue was about 500 meters long and 2-3 people wide. We were enjoying our wandering and exploring so decided to continue on. Within a few blocks we found many other amazingly detailed churches which were both free to enter and free of tourists.
By mid morning we grabbed a takeaway coffee and found a spot with a stunning view looking out over the water to St. Giorgio island. Stuff paying extra to sit at a table and chairs when you can sit right on the waterfront and have an uninterrupted view!
After our caffeine intake we continued our meandering. We joked that if someone were to place a GPS tracking device on us they would think we were crazy!
After several more hours exploring the backstreets, parks, alleyways and canals we found ourselves on the tip of an island… Well almost as we were stopped by a pleasant security guard and told “off limits”. We returned back a few hundred meters and found a cafe with an outdoor eating area that wasn’t too busy or too overpriced. We grabbed a seat and used the facilities. Yes you have to pay to use toilets in Venice €1.50 per person seamed to be the going rate. Well after a bird decided to do its dos on our table (yes, a pigeon) we retreated inside to enjoy a great Margarita pizza.
After lunch we walked and walked some more and got ourselves a bit lost and ended up near the cruise ship port. Oh well, we always like to have a different experience than others.
Now, as you may know we are carting all our wares on our backs meaning that we have only a small wardrobe, and when a piece such as jeans (an essential item) or shoes (another essential piece) die as they are known to do you need to replace them. Now you would think this was easy but when we were in Asia it was damn impossible as we are both too “largie largie” for the standard wardrobes. So it is very nice to be able to have choice. We happily spent several hours at a mall stocking up on a few essentials before heading back to enjoy a pizza and a bottle of red 🙂
Day two in Venice was spent in much the same way as our first day. We explored and wandered did a lot of ohh’s and ahh’s and enjoyed our quiet pace. The backstreets offer a very different view of the city with people going about everyday tasks in such a pristine setting. Yet again we couldn’t understand why the tourists refused to go off the main routes and actually explore, although it’s better for us that they don’t! What an amazingly stunning place Venice is.
Next stop Vienna, Austria.